Lt. Col. James N. Dearien (USAF, ret.) passed away peacefully Feb. 24, 2012, in Dallas. Jim was born Jan. 1, 1921, to Susan Ada Winfree and William Jennings Dearien of Charleston, W.Va. Jim graduated from Charleston High in 1938. He entered the Army Air Corps, attending Drake University. In 1944, he attended Bombardier Training in Deming, N.M., where he was selected Cadet Colonel of Bombardier Class WC 44-7. He flew B-17s out of Foggia, Italy, where he completed many missions in support of the World War II effort. He was awarded the Purple Heart during this service.
He separated from service at the end of the war, and entered Georgetown School of Foreign Service, where he met his wife of 64 years, Charlotte Susan Nicolai. He re-entered the newly formed United States Air Force in November 1947, then graduated from Georgetown in June 1948.
After multiple assignments, he was stationed in Osan, Korea, with the 98th Bomb Wing in 1950, flying B-29s. His first child, Susan, was born in Spokane, Wash., while he was at war. He returned to Topeka, Kan., where his son, James II, was born, and then transferred to Harlingen, Texas, where his son, William, was born. In 1960, he accepted assignment to Southern Methodist University, as commander of the USAF ROTC and professor of air science. He frequently spoke of, and cherished, the relationships he developed with his cadets and the Angel Flight long after leaving SMU.
While at the university, he attended night law school, earning his Juris Doctor. He retired from active service in 1966, going to work for Republic National Bank in their trust department. He went into private law practice in 1970.
While in law practice, at the request of Miss Eva Easterwood, his client, he formed the Jesse L. Easterwood Scholarship Trust Fund in honor of her brother, a highly decorated World War I pilot. It continues to benefit the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets. An Easterwood Scholarship was also provided for students at Southern Methodist University.
He was instrumental in setting up an Easterwood Display at the Frontiers of Flight Museum at Love Field. The display highlights the City of Dallas’ keen interests and beginnings in aviation, commemorating the historic landing of Costes and Bellonte and their aircraft, Question Mark, from Paris to New York to Dallas Love Field in 1930. Thirty-thousand people attended this event.
Jim was a founder of the Chapel of the Cross and was a tireless attendee at his grandchildren’s sporting, fine arts, and Boy Scout events. He was a member and supporter of the Mustang Club, and he enjoyed the fall return to campus of the SMU football program, especially the tailgate parties by the SMU Law School Alumni.
He was a member of Delta Phi Epsilon, Phi Delta Phi, the U.S. Court of Appeals, the U.S. Court of Military Appeals, the U.S. Northern District Court, and the Supreme Court of Texas.
The family would like to express their appreciation for the care given to Jim during his illness: the Forum Assisted Living, Dr. John L. Hollingsworth, M.D., and Faith Presbyterian Hospice.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents, a brother, John, and sister, Ada Mae Wingo. He is survived by his wife, Charlotte S. Dearien; daughter Susan and husband Craig Crouch, M.D.; son Jim and wife Julie; son Bill and wife Mary; and eight grandchildren: Lt. Collier Crouch, USN, Christopher Crouch, Chase Crouch, Jessica Dearien, Jaclyn Dearien, Edward Dearien, Audrey Dearien, and Samuel Dearien. He is also survived by his brother Frank Dearien and several nieces and nephews.
The service was held March 2 at the Chapel of the Cross, 4333 Cole Avenue, Dallas, TX 75205. Officiant was: The Rev. Mr. James Cole. If desired, donations can be made in Jim’s name to the Wounded Warriors Project, the Chapel of the Cross, or to a charity of your choice.